Date of Award
Asian American literature has reached an impasse: it continues to aim for representation and institutional recognition, but the category has become so broad that it is hard to say what the center of it is anymore. I argue that the interests of the Asian American community would be better addressed better with a more fluid conception of the category. The fundamental issue that plagues the Asian American community is racialization. Attending to this requires letting go of the racial category as a rallying point and doing away with representation politics. I read Aiiieeeee!, the first anthology of Asian American literature, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake to show how the construction of the Asian American identity is a stumbling block to racial equality. I turn to Toni Morrison’s Recitatif to argue that fluid conceptions of race and identity are more generative towards that goal.
Huang, Sophie G., "The Problem With Asian American Literature" (2023). Comparative Literature M.A. Essays. 19.
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